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This review is from: "Doctor Who": Travels in Time and Space (Dr Who) (Audio CD)
This set contains audiobook readings of the first 3 Doctor Who books (hailing from the mid 1960s), which subsequently became the first 3 Target books that launched the long-running Target Doctor Who book range.
As books, these stories are by-and-large excellent reading. As audiobooks they remain almost the pinnacle of a range that has now seen 60-odd releases.
Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks (aka Doctor Who and the Daleks) is a thoroughly engrossing first-person account (written from the POV of Ian Chesterton) of the Doctor's first encounter with the Daleks. Whilst the storyline matches the TV serial - by-and-large - the first few chapters exploring Ian meeting Barbara on a foggy night on Barnes Common and the duo meeting the Doctor (and Susan) are completely unlike what was depicted on TV. On the audiobook front, listeners should be aware of a number of things: This first audiobook was first released as a MP3-CD and was not remastered for this CD-A release. The result is that the audio is sometimes lacking in terms of dynamic range and this may account for one reviewer finding fault with William Russell's reading. Under normal circumstances, this would not be an issue, but coupled with the fact that these audiobooks feature quite a bit of music and sound effects, the reading often feels "flattened". Listeners should also be aware that the Dalek voices - unlike in later releases - were not by Nicholas Briggs and sound quite different to the TV variety. This can be a little distracting at times but does not detract too much from the overall listening experience. The audiobook music and effects are of a quite high level and certainly add to the feel of the storytelling.
Doctor Who and the Crusaders is based on the TV serial, The Crusade. It's a terrific story full of real politik and a mature approach to anglo-muslim relations during the time of King Richard the Lionheart's crusade to reconquer the Holy Lands. It was also one of the few books that I read as a child that gave voice to an Islamic POV, something that I appreciate even more as an adult. It's filled with compelling and largely sympathetic characters, although like all good adventure stories, the villains are truly hissable. Unlike the first Dalek book, this book is written in the third-person and is largely faithful to the original television story. The audiobook features a somewhat sparser soundscape than either of the other 2 audiobooks, but the reading by Russell is wonderful. This story was mastered for CD-A and so the sound quality is much better.
Lastly, there is Doctor Who and the Zarbi, which is based on the TV serial The Web Planet. It is also largely faithful to it's TV counterpart, but unencumbered by lacklustre direction and 60's television production values, the book feels like a vast improvement. As an audiobook, it features a wonderfully discordant soundscape with almost ever-present sound-effects and is probably my favourite reading of the 3 audiobooks in this set. William Russell is once again exceptional, bringing real warmth and dexterity to the reading. This story was also mastered for CD-A and features excellent sound quality.
Overall, this is a brilliant set, slightly let down by a few sound issues with the Dalek audiobook.
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Initial post: 25 Oct 2013 22:57:31 BDT
Kenneth Bishton says:
I am grateful to John Prentice for explaining why the first reading sounded so flat and 'bitty' to my ears. I can appreciate that, as an MP3 transfer, it wouldn't sound as dynamic and full as a proper CD Audio recording. That explains a lot, and those audible gaps and breaks were probably nothing to do with William Russell's performance at all! That was just my surmising without any real information. I am quite prepared to take back what I said about Mr Russell's reading skills, and certainly no sleight was intended. (I sincerely hope he didn't take it personally!)
The real pity is that, on account of my poor reaction to that first story, I sold the entire set to another buyer through Marketplace and never listened to the 'Crusades' and 'Web Planet' stories. It seems that I think I missed out on a treat. It would have helped if this technical information had been made clearer on the product.
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